at last - our Christmas gift exchange recap

As we put away all our presents after 12th night, I'm mindful that the true meaning of Christmas isn't in the tangible items or commercialism but in the holiness of the day. ... Yeah, I can't keep that up for more than one sentence without rolling my eyes out of my head. Actually, this year I had a hard time picking out presents for Rich. I wanted to get him something unique and/or interesting and not just Flyers gear (particularly since his beloved team is not doing so great this season). I enjoy that we don't have rules for our presents and just buy random things that we like for each other to show we care. And for all my angst every damn year about what to get anyone, I rally in the end and wind up pretty pleased with my decisions.

The Puddin' also waffled between being convinced his presents to me were the Best Presents Ever sure to make me swoon with delight and telling himself I would laugh in his face at the ridiculousness of his shopping choices.

So Christmas morning was a bit dramatic as each of us worried that the other wouldn't fall over with joy over their gifts. We spent so much energy worrying if the other would love their presents we couldn't concentrate on our own treasures. It's only days later that I at least can fully absorb all the time and effort we spent on each other.

I know, I know - make with the prezzies!!

Rich's presents to Genie
Rich's presents to Genie

You'll notice the biggest item in this pile is the cello that was hidden in the spare room. There isn't enough wrapping paper in our house that could have hidden what it was, so we went for the closed eyes and big bow delivery method. I was truly stunned. A million thoughts ran through my head, not the least of which was that Rich had bought me an instrument more expensive than his truck that I wouldn't be able to play. But my "starter" cello works just fine and I have worked up several rousing renditions of Christmas carols and a few other tunes. It's surprising how much comes back after 12 years.

Genie presents to Rich
Genie's presents to Rich

Rich's two super cool presents were his Nike + iPod kit. I found black and orange sneakers (Go Flyers!) with the pocket for the transmitter to talk to an iPod nano. So I bought him a Nano to upgrade his old shuffle and the transmitter kit. So now he can have some soft spoken woman tell him over his headphones how far he's run and give him encouragement. It won't be cheating if the gift came from me. I'm certainly not going to try to keep pace with him to give him encouragement.

The item I'm most proud of, though, you can't quite see all of in that photo. On December 15, while still in the throws of despair over having absolutely no ideas on what to get Rich, I decided that I would give him something that was a gesture of my time instead of something purchased. So I flew into the local yarn shop like Kramer from Seinfeld and told the woman I needed red and green yarn and the bulkier the better! She outfitted me with all the tools to hand knit Rich a Christmas stocking. I just had to learn how to make a stocking on my own having only successfully made one sock (not even a pair) before in my life. I also had to do this in secret while we worked in the same office and slept in the same bed and spent most of our evenings in the same tiny computer room. I knitted at stop lights. I knitted in the office after he would go home. I knitted in the middle of the night after the Puddin' had gone to bed. And I finished at 9pm on Christmas Eve. I should have put his name on it, but I couldn't do that graph work in the 11th hour. He didn't know it was handmade until I told him. Next time, I'll learn how to size the pattern, so I don't make a stocking so big I can't fill it. But he's pretty pleased with his genuine stocking cap.

grizzled elf
my grizzled elf

I hope everyone had as good of a holiday as we did. We're look forward to an exciting 2007 together and many more Christmas presents for years to come.